Brief eclectic psychotherapy v. eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder: randomised controlled trial

NIJDAM Mirjam J., et al
Journal article citation:
British Journal of Psychiatry, 200(3), March 2012, pp.224-231.
Cambridge University Press

This study compared the efficacy and response patterns of trauma-focused cognitive–behavioural therapy (CBT) modality brief eclectic psychotherapy with eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing therapy (EMDR) for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Brief eclectic psychotherapy was chosen over other forms of trauma focussed CBT because it explicitly combines psychoeducation, imaginal exposure, cognitive restructuring and writing assignments. Out-patients with PTSD were recruited from an Amsterdam clinic and randomly assigned to brief eclectic psychotherapy (n = 70) or EMDR (n = 70) and assessed at all sessions on self-reported PTSD (Impact of Event Scale – Revised). Other outcomes were clinician-rated PTSD, anxiety and depression. Both treatments were equally effective in reducing PTSD symptom severity. However the response pattern indicated that EMDR produced a significantly sharper decline in PTSD symptoms than brief eclectic psychotherapy, with similar drop-out rates (EMDR: n = 20 (29%), brief eclectic psychotherapy: n = 25 (36%)). It is concluded that although both treatments are effective, EMDR results in a faster recovery compared to the more gradual improvement with brief eclectic psychotherapy.

Subject terms:
post traumatic stress disorder, psychotherapy, behaviour therapy;
Content type:
Journal home page
ISSN online:
ISSN print:

Key to icons

  • Free resource Free resource
  • Journal article Journal article
  • Book Book
  • Digital media Digital media
  • Journal Journal

Give us your feedback

Social Care Online continues to be developed in response to user feedback.

Contact us with your comments and for any problems using the website.

Sign up/login for more

Register/login to access resource links, advanced search and email alerts